New UMass-Boston Research Examines Economic Security for Older Adults in Large Metro Regions

Mar 10, 2021

New estimates from the 2020 Elder Index from the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging at UMass-Boston shows that living expenses are high in
metropolitan areas across the U.S., and many older singles and couples lack the resources
needed to get by in their communities.

Focusing on the 100 largest metropolitan areas, UMass researchers compare the 2020 Elder Index to household incomes among adults aged 65 years or older living in one- and two-person households. Based on this comparison, findings indicate that in each of the 100 largest metro areas, at least 37% of older singles are at risk of being unable to afford basic needs and age in their own homes, along with at least 12% of older couples. Rates of economic insecurity are far higher in some locations, reaching 60% or greater for singles and more than 40% for couples in selected metro areas.

The Boston-Cambridge-Newton metro area appears to rank third-highest of the 100 largest metro areas in the country on the new Elder Index research, which singles out high local housing costs as a major contributing factor. The report does not, however, take into account the role of a range of supports offered by age- and dementia friendly communities, community-based organizations, nonprofits, and other programs.